Adventures with Sea Hag




{Sea Hag is one of the founding member of Monkey Barn. I've known her the longest, and she even has her own website now. She has a birthday this week, although I'm genetically incapable of remembering which day it is. I'm often asked two questions about her. 1) Yes, she is a Sea Hag. 2) As for how we met, see below. ~H}





THE HYPERION CHRONICLES
“Better than a stolen fork from Red Lobster”



#310 Adventures with Sea Hag




When people meet me in person they always ask the same questions. Questions like:


Are you really that ugly?

How did you get that big?

No, seriously: it’s a mask, right?


When they’ve known me for a while, the questions change subtly:


How can someone who looks so dumb be so smart?

How can someone so smart have accomplished nothing?

How can someone so big and ugly get all these women?


And so forth.

For the people who don’t know me personally, who only know me through my columns; my words, they usually ask the same question:

Does the stuff you write about really happen to you?

I can only answer that the more you know me, the more common-place it all seems. As my friend Marcellus said, “Hyperion, when you’re around, I don’t even raise my eyebrows any more.” I’ve been in a hijacked plane (before 9/11), almost accidentally started a gang war, traveled 1800 miles looking for a girl I saw at a gas station; there’s a town in Texas where my picture is on the post office wall.

However, as I looked at the calendar, I realized it’s the anniversary of one of the strangest episodes of my life. If it hadn’t happened to me, I’d never believe it. I’m talking about my adventures with Sea Hag.

Sea Hag wasn’t her real name, but that’s what everyone called her. To be honest, I don’t think even SHE knew her true name; she’d been using t’other for so long.

I met Sea Hag at—I’m not kidding—a conference for the Heal the World Foundation (HWF). It was one of those “Think Globally, Act Locally” groups that sits around and comes up with all these great ideas to save the environment except for the one tiny detail that all the ideas are ludicrous and would never work.

At the time I was not too into ludicrous ideas (that didn’t involve Spielberg) but as a senior in high school I needed as many responsible-looking activities on my transcript as possible. (I strongly suspect that’s the reason groups like this were created in the first place.) Also, these kinds of deals were always full of hotties: that wonderful subset of girls who were bright and worried about getting into a good college. Either they believed this B.S. fully, which meant they’d be na├»ve enough to buy whatever line I fed them, or they’d be cynical and jaded about the transcript fattening, and I love those kinds of girls too.

I was grouped with two girls; Heather Giordano and Zarine. Heather was pretty (for an Italian), but Zarine…land sakes, was that one fine filly! I immediately went into my full-on cocky charming mode, and believe me: when I have a mind to I’m one charming dude.

The conference was completely bogus, as I suspected. (As proof: our answer to stopping pollution was to kill every man, woman and child with nuclear weapons so they couldn’t poison the earth any more. I think we got an honorable mention for “Most Creative” or something.) But, I did get Zarine’s phone number. As Quagmire would say: “All Right!”

We went to see an opera of Amahl and the Night Visitors, and then to a steak house. We ended up driving around for awhile and then talking for hours in an Arby’s parking lot. I got really nervous—as Zarine was so beautiful—and didn’t know what to do with my hands. I ended up fiddling with the rear-view mirror incessantly. Well, I was a strong lad, and the stupid thing broke off in my hand.

Zarine laughed so hard she turned blue. Well, you are supposed to make girls laugh (although, hopefully not at you, but hey). I took her home, and before she got out of the car she said she wanted to give me something; a Talisman, she called it. (I should have known then.)

Zarine rummaged through her purse and came up with an air freshener. It was the kind you clip to your visor and has a casing that holds the removable little packet. The packet was so old that it barely had any smell left, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. As I accepted it she said:

“Thus the terms are given

Thus the price is met

Thus the heart is riven

The Promise will be kept”

I looked at her strangely. She just smiled shyly and I saw it as a charming teenage girl thing. I know, I know…I’m an idiot.

Three days later I was sitting in my garage trying to fine tune an egg-catapult (remind me to write that column some day). Up walks the ugliest, most hideous woman I have ever seen, and I’ve seen some ugly chicks. Travel to as many places as I go and you’ll run into some real barkers. I even knew this grave-yard shift waitress who was a 2-bagger. (That’s where you put a bag over your head in case her bag falls off.) But this woman beat them all (with her own ugly stick). She was dressed all in blue and red polyester. She also had this raven that perched on her shoulder and only said one word: “Soup!” It said soup in two syllables, high to low, like “Soo-Oop!” I grew to hate that bird.

She said, “Do you still have the Talisman?” It was the same voice beautiful Zarine used. I was flabbergasted. “What? How? What?” I managed to stammer, at length.

“Three very excellent questions,” the she-beast replied. I won’t bore you with the details of what we said. (Actually, the details are not boring—far from it—but the conversation remains so embarrassing to me that I don’t want to shame myself further.) Suffice it to say that Zarine was a “glamour” Sea Hag used to appear beautiful and ensnare trusting young men. Once a talisman is accepted, the boy becomes her captive and must do her these favors three before being released. There was a way out of it, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first thing I had to help Sea Hag with was stealing the mascot to a local university. It was this stupid, huge, ugly bulldog named Hugga the IVth. We held a planning meeting at Sea Hag’s stomping grounds, a local dive called Black Slab Dot’s.

Inside, we met Sea Hag’s crew, and what a motley bunch they were. There was George (pronounced “Hor-Hay”), an albino named Kip, and two Petes: Whistlin’ Pete and Blind Pete. Blind Pete was just about as ugly as Sea Hag (they said to look at him full on made you go blind), while Whistlin’ Pete actually was blind. He had a seeing-eye dog named Rusty, who wore a grass hula skirt all the time. The Raven took one look at them and commented, “Soup!” I agreed.

This was Sea Hag’s crew, minus the two mogres (but I didn’t meet them until later). I commented to Sea Hag they left a lot to be desired, but she replied with a cackle (she had long since reverted to her natural raspy voice) that they suited a sea hag just fine. We made plans far into the night, interspersed with interesting conversation. (Among the other talk was whether babies would taste like veal, since they are young red meat, or more like chicken, what every default meat seems to taste like.) Finally, we went out and stole that dumb dog. I never did find out what Sea Hag wanted it for, but I felt I was better off not knowing.

However, it is the second task that I write this column for (the anniversary of which is today, if you can remember that far back). Kip (the albino) explained it to me much later, but it might help you to understand now.

Way back when (and we’re talking a long time ago, when the Dead Sea was only sick), Sea Hag had been a beautiful woman. She lost a bet (involving chicken biscuits), and lost her youth and tremendous beauty. But she could get them back. They were stored in a music box on an island in a small lake. (It was actually this lake which partly gave Sea Hag her name. I asked Sea Hag why she didn’t have her domain be the open sea, and she grudgingly admitted to being agoraphobic. So, a small lake it was.)

The plan was to row out to the island and for Sea Hag to get her essence back. My job would be to fend off the treacherous water buffalo (who were always trolling the waters around the island), and deal with Locho.

We started off in the boat. Davan and Jhim (sounds like a French “Jim”) were rowing. They were the two mogres I told you about earlier. In case you were wondering, mogres are mini-ogres. I tell you this because I had other adventures with the mogres but they will have to wait for another time.

So, we got to the island, and Sea Hag went ashore with Davan and Jhim. I stayed in the boat and distracted the menacing water buffalo with Kalamata olives, as everyone knows the only thing water buffalo crave more than the taste of human (and mogre and sea hag) flesh is the salty tanginess of Kalamata olives.

Then Locho appeared. For those of you who’ve yet to experience college, Locho is a legendary giant female octopus. She lived in Sea Hag’s lake and one day met Sea Hag on the open waters (at least as open as a tiny inlet can be). Locho was monstrously huge, and was fully prepared to eat Sea Hag (and the two innocent mogres) when Sea hag cast a spell to enthrall the beast.

Locho was instantly smitten, and from then on the giant leviathan pursued Sea Hag in a romantic way. Of course, it’s not all beer and skittles being the love object of a monstrous eight-legged mollusk. It got so bad that Sea Hag was scared to go on her own lake!

My task, which began in earnest upon the appearance of Locho, was to redirect her romantic desire so Sea Hag could get her essence. In my very best singing voice I tried, “You’re once, twice, eight times a lady…” No dice. Next up was, “My Locho lies over the ocean, my Locho lies over the sea…” For that I nearly got an ink blob in the face.

In desperation I tried the theme to Octopussy, but Locho was a Sean Connery1 fan, so it just made things worse. Finally, when it seemed that things were at their bleakest, inspiration struck and in my best Liverpudlian2 brogue I belted out, “I wanna hold your hand hand hand hand hand hand hand hand.”

Huzzah! It worked! Locho was pleased, and, well, now I have a behemoth octopus in love with me, but all things considered, it could be worse.

Well, soon after that Sea Hag reappeared, carrying her music box like it was a precious baby (a really cute baby, not one of those normal ugly ones). She commanded the mogres: “Shove off.” “Aye, aye,” they said in unison. Quoth the raven: “Soup!”

We got back, and I found out my third task: a foot rub. I quietly wondered if I could go back to Locho. But then Sea Hag said I could wait until she got her essence back inside her. And, since this is a family column, that, my friends, is where I must end this story.

Hyperion
August 19, 2004


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Notes
1 Sean Connery was the original James Bond, and was replaced by Roger Moore, who made Octopussy
2 I Wanna Hold your Hand was sung by the Beatles, who all hailed from Liverpool, and yes, that is the proper way to refer to someone from there.

Motto Explanation
One time at Red Lobster Sea Hag stole a lobster fork. She was always doing stunts like that

Credits
Thanks to Sea Hag and Happy Anniversary
Thanks to Aslan
Thanks to Taisie for explaining the difference between salty tanginess and tangy saltiness
Thanks to Koz
Special thanks to Laureate
Thanks to Tootsie for Editing


What this has to do with a Sea Hag, I'll leave you to guess

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